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Cardiff City celebrated winning the first ever top flight Welsh derby on Sunday, beating their rivals Swansea City 1-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Steven Caulker’s second half header following a Craig Bellamy corner was the difference between the Bluebirds and the Swans.

Cardiff City Malaysian owner Vincent Tan does the Ayatollah

It was a bittersweet goal for the Cardiff skipper, with the ex-Tottenham man having spent some time at Swansea on loan in the 2011-12 season. But it was one that will go down in folklore as the first ever goal between the sides in the Premier League and a goal that Cardiff fans will remember as it gave them a famous victory over their Welsh counterparts. It was a win that has helped to gloss over an overwhelming feeling of discontent amongst a large proportion of the Welsh side’s supporters regarding the running of the club.

Owner Vincent Tan has repeatedly made headlines for his apparent lack of knowledge of the game. And Tan became a figure of public ridicule when he was pictured wearing a Cardiff home shirt over his suit. His reputation wasn’t helped when he replaced the respected head of recruitment Iain Moody with rookie Alisher Apsalyamov – a decision that even manager Malky Mackay admitted he was bemused by.

It was a decision that sparked outrage and protests amongst the fans – and not for the first time. Before the start of last season, Tan re-branded the club and changed the colour of their home shirts from blue to red, before investing in a new training facility, expanding the stadium and providing an enhanced transfer budget.

As a fan base that values tradition they strongly opposed the change to their traditional strip and many have demanded that Tan resigns and sells his stake in the club. It was an offensive decision done without any consultation with the fans. Whilst they have incorporated the blue shirt as their away colours, it was still a move that was largely opposed.

However, on the back of the re-branding, Cardiff enjoyed their best ever start to a league campaign whilst in the Championship. They broke their club record of 9 consecutive home league wins by beating former manager Dave Jones’ Sheffield Wednesday side to win the 10th home game in a row.

The Bluebirds topped the division and were promoted as champions to the Premier League. In their first home game in the top-flight, Cardiff beat Manchester City 3-2 with Fraizer Campbell scoring twice.

And the victory against Swansea was their third of the season – leaving them on 12 points from the opening 10 games and a place above their rivals in the league table.

Whilst the only flash point in the game itself came when a Swansea keeper Michel Vorm was sent off for a late challenge on Fraizer Campbell as the striker raced clear.

But the major talking point is centred on Vincent Tan. Banners were held up throughout with the words “Tan Out” written on them. And Tan remained seemingly oblivious to the opposition to his reign from the stands.

He will undoubtedly be pleased that his time at the club has been incredibly successful but it raises the question, is the loss of traditions and identity a price worth paying for success?

Yes, the fans would prefer to have long term security for their club that nearly went into administration in the 2006-07 season. But for a large number of the loyal fans, what is more important is having a sense of pride in the side that made it to two cup finals in 4 years – in the FA Cup against Portsmouth in 2008, losing 1-0, and the League Cup final against Liverpool in 2012, losing on penalties.

And pride is what has been lost for many followers of the club. It has great tradition and could follow in Swansea’s footsteps to become a force in the Premier League, but until the fans feel like it is their club once again, it would be a shallow victory for the Welsh side.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Darren Ash for Outside 90
Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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